I FINALLY started watching The Mandelorian. Yes. I know. It’s about time ( – for those of you who are into Star Wars. I don’t care to those of you who aren’t. I write the facts, which means I also write the lead ins). Because I am an old, I have been watching Star Wars for a Long Time. The first one premiered when I was but a wee lass, and I loved them every since. Speaking of, y’all remember when people, who were racist, went completely apesh*t, over John Boyega being a Black Storm Trooper. Because “hOw cAN a bLaCk bE in sPaCE?”. And it always reminds me of this moment in Psych which, was one of my favorite shows:

Which I’m sure makes you think this fact is about Dule Hill, but it’s not. It’s about Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. That is all one person. He’s better known by the stage name Stephin Fetchit. He was an American vaudevillian, comedian, and film actor who is considered to be the first Black actor to have been billed in a movie AND the first Black actor to have a successful film career.

In his teens, Perry became a comic character actor. By the age of 20, Perry had become a vaudeville artist and the manager of a traveling carnival show. His stage name was a contraction of “step and fetch it”. His accounts of how he adopted the name varied, but generally he claimed that it originated when he performed a vaudeville act with a partner. Perry won money betting on a racehorse named “Step and Fetch It”, and his partner and he decided to adopt the names “Step” and “Fetchit” for their act. When Perry became a solo act, he combined the two names, which later became his professional name*.

Perry played comic-relief roles in a number of films, all based on his character known as the “Laziest Man in the World” (whew. THE WAY MY EYEBALLS ROLLED AROUND IN MY HEAD. He signed a five-year studio contract following his performance in the film, In Old Kentucky (1927). The film’s plot included a romantic connection between Perry and actress Carolynne Snowden, a subplot that was a rarity for Black actors appearing in a White film during this era.Perry also starred in Hearts in Dixie (1929), one of the first studio productions to boast a predominantly Black cast. By the mid-30’s, Perry was the first Black actor to become a millionaire, and appeared in 44 films between 1927 and 1939. Chile they was workin’ him like…you know what? Nevermind.

Anyway. In 1940, he stopped appearing in films because he could not get equal pay and billing with his white costars. He returned in 1945 ‘cause bills bills bills, but ended up declaring bankruptcy in 1947. After 1953, Perry appeared in cameos in TV shows and feature films but found himself in conflict with civil rights leaders who criticized him for film roles that he portrayed/was offered because Hollywood LOVES a stereotype. In more recent years though, his character was re-evaluated by scholars who viewed his character as the embodiment of the trickster stereotype.

So there you go! A fact about a man whose stage name was literally just a phrase for “shuckin’ and jivin’ for the white man” and they just…went with it.

*type of stereotypical black roles in Hollywood.

Because I work in a hospital and it is what it is, and SOMETIMES I talk about death because my friends are weirdos and ask for facts about people’s death anniversaries and I will oblige my friends because I AM ALSO A WEIRDO, and sometimes I talk about death because I’m black* and black people like to know stuff about dead folks. Like for instance “Who all going? (this really does apply to just about any gathering)” and “Who did the body?” Important questions ‘cause after all you don’t wanna be scaring people on your way home do you? Oh. Also, funerals are sometimes called homegoings. Because you’re going HOME. AND. Since I guess I’m tellin’ y’all stuff that if you’ve been paying any kind of attention to Black people at all these last few years you woulda noticed, when beloved celebrities pass, WE LOVE A GOOD HOMEGOING SERVICE. Like. LOVE. When Aretha Franklin had her homegoing, it was broadcast on several channels and of COURSE I WAS AT WORK BECAUSE AREN’T I ALWAYS?! But please believe I really did sit here at work and watch an EIGHT. HOUR. SERVICE. I am a multitasking mother fucker. And I know I was not alone because The Brat was also watching from work. And texting me. I watched people show up in their finery and big hats ‘cause old church ladies LOVE a big church hat.

But the service was eight hours and so at some point I had to break for lunch and since outside was open back then, I WENT to lunch and prayed that if they were gonna sing Eye On the Sparrow it was gonna be while I was at lunch, because I woulda been laid out at work and issa bad look when you’re supposed to be a Professional At Work™. Luckily/unluckily, it was 2018 and the internet is forever so even if I missed something super important I coulda just googled it up online because that IS what the internet is for (not for the other thing). Can you imagine the olden days of having to videotape things? Setting your VCR, making sure you had enough tape to get the whole damn thing, which how could you have because WTF thought anybody would have an EIGHT. HOUR. FUNERAL?!

I certainly woulda missed taping at least some of it. But I am not today’s BHFOTD, Marion Stokes, a Philadelphia access television producer, civil rights demonstrator, activist, librarian and prolific archivist, who amassed hundreds of thousands of hours of TV news footage spanning 35 years – from 1977 until her death at age 83.

She was convinced that there was a lot of detail in the news at risk of disappearing forever (and she was right ‘cause networks had been disposing their archives for decades), and so she began recording television 24 hours a day. The collection consisted of 24/7 coverage of MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNBC, CNN and Fox. (Do you remember the time when Fox had actual news on it?) It was recorded on 8 separate VCRs all over her house. She and her entire family planned outings around the length of a VHS tape, including cutting  short so they could make it home to switch out tapes every six hours. So I guess she woulda had to book it back home for Ms. ‘Retha’s homegoing too.

It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which was the beginning of the 24 hour news cycle and ended December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on TV as Marion passed on. All told she’d recorded 40,000 plus VHS/Betamax that were stacked in her home and apartments she’d rented just to store them. Her collection was donated to the Internet Archive on year after her death. It was the largest collection they had ever received. I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere but also I feel like it’s probably inappropriate to make but also CIRCLE OF LIFE.

ANYWAY. That’s it folks! That’s all the facts I got for you next week. See you on Tuesday because while USUALLY I’m at work, I took a day off  ‘cause  I DO WHAT I WANT. Stay tuned for week three of BLACK PEOPLE DID WHAT?! Have a good weekend. Don’t forget to tip your server on your way out!

*YES I AM.

Since we’re in a panorama, I mostly do not go anywhere. Except work. And the market. And the beach. That is my one concession to being inside all the time. I get up VERY early and walk a few miles on the water. At 7am, it’s mostly just surfers, swimmers and a few other people. There’s a boardwalk, but there are definitely more people there than at the water. But this weekend, I got in my car and instead of going where I normally go, I ended up at Venice Beach. I think maybe I was just itching for a change in scenery and it’s been a long while since I’ve done some wandering that way. So I double masked, took out my phone and snapped some pictures of the street art I happened by.

Like this beauty.

I really do love street art you guys.

And this:

And also. THIS:

This was at the very end of my walk. The dude who created this came up to me, waves at the pictures on the panels behind me and hands me a pair of 3D glasses which I did not put on because THERE IS A POLYNOMIAL OUTSIDE SIR. YOU THINK I’M ‘BOUT TO PUT THESE COOTIE COVERED 3D PAPER GLASSES ON MY FACE?! I *DID* however, hold them out in front me to get a better look at this picture and you guys. Valerie Thomas did not create 3D for some jackass to create a 3D painting of Beavis & Butthead. (Or Snow White smoking a pipe while in compromising positions with the some dwarves. WHY are people like this?! It’s rhetorical. I know)

Look at me getting to the BHFOTD! Valerie Thomas became interested in science as a child after watching her dad tinker with the TV and seeing the mechanical parts inside. At 8 years old, she read The Boys First Book of Electronics because obviously only BOYS could be interested in electronics. At the all-girls school she attended, she was not encouraged to pursue science or math, she did manage to take a physics class. Which, she parlayed into majoring in physics at Morgan State University (shout out to HBCUs!). In 1964, Valerie began working at NASA as a data analyst, developing real-time computer data systems to support satellite operations control centers and oversaw the creation of the Landsat program (which is the longest-running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth.) becoming an international expert in Landsat data products.

Then, In 1976 she attended a scientific seminar where she viewed an exhibit that demonstrated an illusion. The exhibit used concave mirrors to fool the viewer into believing that a light bulb was glowing even after it had been unscrewed from its socket. She was so amazed by what she saw at this seminar that she wanted to start creating this on her own. Later that year she would begin to experiment with flat and concave mirrors. The flat mirrors would have a reflection on a certain object that would seem to be behind the glass. The concave mirror would have a reflection that would actually be in front of the glass, producing a three-dimensional illusion. She patented the illusion transmitter in 1980, which is basically early 3D technology that is STILL used by NASA today.

Valerie, who was both Black AND a woman, worked her way up to associate chief of the Space Science Data Operations at NASA. She also participated in projects related to Halley’s Comet, ozone research, satellite technology and the Voyager spacecraft.

At the end of August 1995, she retired from NASA and her positions of associate chief of NASA’s Space Science Data Operations Office, manager of the NASA Automated Systems Incident Response Capability, and as chair of the Space Science Data Operations Office Education Committee. Whew. That’s a whole lotta jobs.

Post-retirement, Valerie Thomas served as an associate at the UMBC Center for Multicore Hybrid Productivity Research. She continued to serve as a mentor for youth through the Science Mathematics Aerospace Research and Technology and National Technical Association. Thomas’s invention was depicted in a children’s fictional book, television, and video games.

I’d say I’m sorry for violating your eyes with that last photo, but those of you who know me, know better. And those who don’t know me? Consider this last photo my apology.

But I don’t today ‘cause I didn’t watch it.

It’s 2021 though. So even though I did not watch the Super Spreader Event Bowl, I heard about it:

  • Amanda Gorman first poet to perform there (which I already told you about), and
  • H.E.R. performed (quick note that this is a H.E.R stan account. She is young and gifted. You know the rest, right?)

I also heard they had an ICU nurse manager did the coin toss and girl, I guess. I mean if people wanna act like we’re  not in the middle of a whole pandemonium because science is not going to get in the way of people getting together to watch a sport that is prioritizing profits over people that’s cool and I’m sorry that your team lost because I’m just assuming that NOBODY IS ROOTING TO TOM BRADY EVER, even though he’s no longer a NE Patriot and that you watched the game AT HOME with people who live in your house and nobody else. (Not sorry if you thought I was going to say something else. I work in a damn hospital for f*ck’s sake.) I’m SURE that in 10-14 days we’ll hear about a COVID surge in Tallahassee. OR WILL WE?

ANYWAY. The Brat has me re-watching Grey’s Anatomy. Which I stopped watching because WHO HAS THE TIME?! But it turns out I do, because what else am I doing in the middle of a palindrome? Certainly not planning out a fact like I said I would JUST THIS PAST FRIDAY. Nope. I am still vibing my way through Black History Month. BUT! Luckily, I just got finished watching an episode of Grey’s where the former Chief of Surgery, Charles Webber (who is former ‘cause he stepped down ‘cause this is a TV show, after all) did a lecture talmbout when he was a young warthog intern. He was the very first black surgical intern, and boy oh boy was his attending racist something. During this same Lecture series, Amanda Bailey, an Attending Physician, talked about her experience when she first came to Seattle Grace as an intern and how she went off on her attending because she’d figured out what was wrong with the patient and Dr. Webber (the CURRENT Chief) pulled her into his office and told her to look scared while he pretended to fuss at her to make the attending feel better and *RIGHT THEN* it clicked that that was the point that he probably decided to mentor this very short, black woman intern who finally stopped being afraid to speak up because in a WAYYY earlier episode he told her that the plan was always for HER to take his place as the Chief of Surgery when he stepped down. And so it goes. The “First Black” anything, helps usher in the next Black. And even though ALL of this is a world of make-believe, Doctor Harold Amos is a real person who inspired  hundreds of Black people to become doctors.

Harold Amos, born in 1918 to a mother who was adopted and educated by a Quaker family. And because of this, the Amos family always received a lot of books, including a biography of Louis Pasteur. He graduated in 1936 at the top of his High School class and went on to attend Springfield College in Massachusetts on a full academic scholarship, which was damn near unheard of for an African American. He graduated in 1941 with a degree in chemistry. Then was drafted into the army and was eventually discharged in 1946. That fall, he enrolled in Biological Sciences program at Harvard medical School earning his Master’s degree and in 1952, earned his PhD. And in 1954, Amos joined Harvard Medical School Faculty as a teacher and the first Black microbiologist and went on to become the first Black Chair of the bacteriology in 1968. Harold made various high profile discoveries in his discipline including the finding of the 5-methylcytosine in the E. coli RNA and spearheading research into the use of bacterial RNA to program the synthesis of higher cell proteins, insulin etc.

***An aside: isn’t it interesting how science also tends to build on things? For instance, Dr Amos researched the use of bacterial RNA to program the synthesis of higher cell proteins and then Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a Black virologist, helped develop an mRNA vaccine (Moderna) that tricks your body into  triggering an immune response so that your body produces antibodies for an infection it never had! If we were talking about Black History…and we are…I’d say this is exactly what it’s about: Your work inspiring someone else to go farther.

So back to my fact: Harold was a well-respected educator and often cited teaching as one of his many passions. He was well known as an inviting and welcoming mentor to both students and junior faculty members, and went on to receive many awards throughout his career including: the first Charles Drew World Medical Prize from Harvard University in 1989, an Honoris Causa doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1996, the National Academy of Science’ highest honor, the Public Welfare Medal in 1995, and a diversity award at Harvard named after him.

And here we are. Some fake doctors mixed in with some real doctors AND A VERY REAL, SAFE VACCINE. Okay. I’m climbing down off my soapbox. FOR NOW.

HAPPY MONDAY.

I was listening to the radio which I really don’t do a lot of anymore, but Hit ‘em up came on and I am never not amused at that being one of Spanky’s favorite diss tracks ESPECIALLY since she was BARELY one when it was released which I guess says a lot about my parenting but also I’ve talked a lot about how I used to play catch with The Boy when he was a baby so is anybody really surprised to learn that Spank learned this song before she was in pre-K?  ANYWAY. I was listening and thinking to myself it’s Friday and there is no reason at all I can’t do a fact on music ‘cause some of the stereotypes are true you guys. I love music. And I’m not sorry at all for finding completely ridiculous but true stories to tell you about Black History. So let’s talk about black on black crime diss tracks!

DID YOU KNOW that one of the earliest examples of a diss track is a song to called “You Keep Her” by Joe Tex? Because y’all. R & B singers was WILIN’ OUT. This is what had happened: Joe Tex and James Brown were label mates at King Records. [I didn’t think I knew who Joe Tex was, but I do because my auntie used to always play this song called Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) and can I just tell you that song ALWAYS makes me laugh. Even right now. I was 5 when that song came out. And I’m still 5.]

BACK TO MY STORY: Their beef started when  when Brown reportedly called out on Tex for a “battle” during a dance at a local juke joint. In 1960, Tex left King and recorded a few songs for Detroit-based Anna Records; one of the songs he recorded was the ballad “Baby, You’re Right”. A year later, Brown recorded the song and released it in 1961, changing the lyrics and the musical composition, earning Brown co-songwriting credits along with Tex. By then, Brown had “recruited” singer Bea Ford, who had been married to Tex but had divorced him in 1959. In 1960, Brown and Ford recorded the song, “You’ve Got the Power”. Not too long after, Tex got a personal letter from Brown telling him that he was through with Ford and if Tex wanted her back, he could have her. Tex responded by recording the diss record “You Keep Her” in 1962, where he basically told him “I taught her er’thang she knows; you’re welcome. Gon’ and keep her ‘cause I got me a new boo thang”

ALSO THOUGH. When you start taking people’s girl/boy friends you just gotta assume that they will continuously wish the bad things in life happen to you and nobody but you, right? SO. In 1963, James and Joe used to hang out at this after hours spot called Club 15. One night Joe did a performance making fun of Brown’s cape act. And James…was not amused. So one night James went in with two shotguns, and started shooting up the place while Otis Redding and the Pinetoppers were playing. James Brown ended up shooting 6 or 7 people before jumping into his tour bus and peeling out. A member of his entourage stayed behind and handed out $100 bills to keep everyone (including the people he shot) quiet. This story lives rent free in my head. And I wanted to share it with you. Because it too, it’s Black History.

And just like that I’ve knocked out an entire week of BHFOTD! Hope you enjoyed, blah blah blah, Stay tuned to find out what other ridiculousness I decide to share or if I decide to use my weekend to PLAN OUT A FACT instead of “no plans, just vibin’ my way through Black History Month” (hint: I already have plans for a beach walk, a bubble bath, and a nap. And that’s all)

See y’all next week! Don’t forget to tip your server (me. I am your server) BYEEEEE

Like, high as giraffe pussy high.

SNOOP DOGG HIGH. Dig?

Two years ago (or so), I called my cable provider and was like, hey listen: I don’t want to pay this much for my cable. But I also do not want to lose any of my services. Please keep in mind before you tell me that I have to, that I’ve already priced other service providers. And so they took enough off my bill that I kept the service. But whatever they did expired and I wanted to slap somebody when I saw my bill for January. FINE. I did the little chat thing on the website and repeated the whole spiel. And because they outsource customer service usually, the person was not able to help me, but promised I’d be getting an email with some options for discounts. THEN. I clicked out and completed the survey. I was VERY complimentary. “He was friendly, polite, and courteous. But I’m not playing with y’all. My bill is too damn high and I *will* cancel this service if y’all don’t lower it. Thanks for your help!” That is pretty much a direct quote. It me. Charming. But with the shits.

I said all that to say that bullying works guys. Sometimes though, it takes constant bullying to make it stick. Would you like another example because I have a BHFOTD to share? No?

Wonderful! If I was writing this fact YESTERDAY (which I did not), I woulda told you that YESTERDAY in 1988, the president of the Alabama NAACP and 13 other Black people were arrested for trying to scale an 8-foot fence around the Alabama State Capitol in an effort to take down a confederate flag atop the building. “The Blacks” (a direct quote from a NYT article in 1988) contend that the Rebel battle flag (/flag of the confederate* states which lost a WHOLE ASS WAR because they wanted to keep Black people enslaved/ flag of LOSERS)  is a racist symbol of slavery and oppression. The NAACP was also campaigning to bring down a confederate flag over the South Carolina Statehouse, AND remove the rebel flag from the designs of the Georgia** and Mississippi state flags.

White people across from the Alabama Capitol sang “Dixie” and carried signs reading “Heritage, Honor, Pride, Not Racist” , “Save Our Flag” and “Jews will not replace us”. Oh wait. That last one was South Carolina racists. My bad. A smaller crowd of blacks sang “Knuck if you Buck”. I’m kidding. They sang “We Shall Overcome” But I still say the former is more appropriate.

State Troopers and Capitol police confronted State Rep Thomas Reed, the President of the state chapter of the NAACP. Wow. State Troopers at a Capitol Building to confront black people protesting? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Certainly not any Black person protesting anywhere ever. ANYWAY. All 14 were charged with 2nd degree criminal trespassing and each was released on bond.

It didn’t work that time, but guess what? People were not done! In 2015, After the murder of nine parishioners at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the protests got a little louder. ‘Cause let’s face it. Plenty of people have pointed out this flag is racist AF, but racists in power continued to Heritage and History the flag. Conveniently forgetting that the Heritage AND History was Slavery.   The murderer of nine people, whose name deserves no mention, had MANY photos holding the rebel flag. Bree Newsome, tired of talking, scaled a 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina Statehouse and took down the confederate flag. She was arrested (Naturalmente. You can’t just storm a Capitol building and not expect to get arrested. OR CAN YOU? HAHAHAHAHAHA *clears throat*)  But then the Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.” [POST Charleston Church shooting. Not one second before.]  And then, New Orleans removed several confederate monuments.

BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE: On June 18, 2020, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, announced the SEC would consider banning championship events in Mississippi until the flag was changed. The SEC is the athletic conference for the two largest universities in Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. On June 19, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned all post-season play from occurring in Mississippi until the flag is changed. The NCAA had previously banned predetermined events such as football bowl games and men’s basketball tournament games in 2001 from occurring in the state. The new rule would have also banned merit-based championship sites, such as baseball regionals, softball regionals, women’s basketball tournament games and tennis tournament games. Ole Miss hosted both baseball and softball regionals in 2019. Mississippi State hosted a baseball regional, men’s tennis tournament games and women’s basketball tournament games in 2019. AND THEN. June 22, Conference USA banned all postseason play in Mississippi until the removal of the Confederate emblem from the state flag. Conference USA is home to the state’s third largest university, Southern Miss, and has hosted its annual baseball tournament in Mississippi for eight of the past nine years. On June 23, presidents of the fifteen community colleges in Mississippi issued a joint statement showing their support for a new flag.

Just call Mississippi Sun City.

And wouldn’t you know it, JUST LIKE THAT, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann announced his support for a new flag on June 24th. Hosemann was joined by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, State Auditor Shad White, Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. On June 27, 2020, the Mississippi Legislature passed a resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 79, that suspended rules in the legislative chambers in order to debate and vote on a bill to remove and replace the state flag. The motion was passed with the House approving by a vote of 85–34 and the Senate approving by a vote of 36–14.

See kids? Bullying people for being racist works! KEEP GOING. One flag down, ONE TO GO.

*The word confederate does not deserve capitalization. It knows what it did.

**Georgia’s flag hasn’t been changed YET. BUT ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH BLACK WOMEN WHO STRENGTHEN ME FLIPPED GEORGIA BLUE

One of my favorite ones (surprise surprise!) was working at 24 hour fitness. In the corporate office guys. I still had to people, but I didn’t have to LOOK at them. I sent them nicety emails when they complained about things that weren’t our fault and credited them free months when it was. A surprising amount of military personnel have memberships and honestly I don’t know why ‘cause a) they get “free workouts” just about every day AND b) there is a FREE GYM on every base (but damn near everyone there is military or attached in some way and I suppose it’s easier to ogle women when you don’t know if they are also military and will beat you up for being inappropriate and/or know your spouse and rat you out you still end up getting beaten up). Anyway. Not the point of this story.

While I was working there, I decided to get a part time gig at Frederick’s of Hollywood which was truly a terrible decision because you get 40% everything even the stuff on sale, you could BUY stuff and have them take it out of your check AND if you wore skirts/dresses you had to wear pantyhose. And if you know me at all, you definitely know that was the straw that made me tell them I broke my leg and I was never coming back. (I was young, okay? But it was also nicer than just saying y’all done lost your damn mind and this is all a BunchOfBullshit. I had to dress nicer there than I did at my REAL JOB!) I did make it through Christmas/New Year’s shopping but whew I was glad to be shut of that job and back in my jeans. Like can you imagine getting a job that SEEMS like it’s gonna be amazing and then realizing that no? No it wasn’t?

I like to think that William Hastie, probably knew. But I’m just guessing. Who is that?

Before I tell you, lemme tell you ANOTHER story! I’ll try to keep it short, but no guarantees [still not sorry! But at least it’s SFW].

SO! Imagine you’re a Black* (and native with some *possible* European mixed in because massa just refused to stay outta slave quarters, I’m sure for a little razzle dazzle) graduate of Harvard Law School, in private practice with your cousin in DC serving  as assistant solicitor of the US Department of the Interior advising the agency on racial issues.  It’s 1937, and FDR just appointed YOU, to the District Court of the Virgin Islands, making you the first African American federal judge. Because america is yannow…AMERICA, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary calls your appointment a blunder. World War II is happening and Black people are complaining about discrimination at home while fighting against intolerance overseas (side note: I promise you that I randomly chose this fact today, probably about an hour ago and I am continuously amused at how closely sometimes the past facts mirror the present tense. Okay. Back to my story). You do your job for 2 years, and then in 1939, you resign from the court to go about your black ass business be the Dean of the Howard University School of Law. Where you become a member of Omega Psi Phi [I clearly was not kidding when I said his black ass business], and teach Thurgood Marshall, who went on to be the first black US Supreme Court Justice.

Now. I’m not saying that he quit ‘cause he was probably SICK of racists talking slick to him as the FIRST BLACK to do something that they ain’t think he had a right to do because how DARE HE THINK HE’S EQUAL, but I’m not saying he didn’t either.

Also? FDR’s successor, Harry Truman, appointed Hastie as Territorial Governor of the US Virgin Islands. A position he held from 1946-49 before THEN receiving a recess appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 63 Stat. 493, becoming the first African-American federal appellate judge. He was nominated to the same position by President Truman on January 5, 1950. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 19, 1950, and received his commission on July 22, 1950. He served as Chief officer as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1968 to 1971. He assumed senior status on May 31, 1971. He was a Judge of the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals from 1972 to 1976. His service terminated on April 14, 1976, due to his death in Philadelphia, while playing golf. So maybe it WAS the people he worked with before that chapped his ass since it CLEARLY wasn’t the Judgin’.

*please note that if EYE specifically mention racial makeup it’s ‘cause it was SPECIFICALLY mentioned somewhere. Not that it mattered, ‘cause when you’re racist, even a drop of black genetics makes you black and mentioning that he *might* have European ancestry is strictly to give him some legitimacy. But let’s all be clear that any whiteness in his veins was most likely because his family was owned by some white folks. Okay byeeeeee

Sometime last year, I locked myself out of my bedroom. Spanky was harassing me and I told her I was gonna lock my door if she didn’t leave me alone. Which, is saying something ‘cause I never lock my door. And then I did it. I locked it. But instead of closing it, I came out to do something and then guess what I did? I did exactly what you think I did. And because I didn’t have one of those locks where you just kinda stick a pin in it and pop the thingy out, I was LOCKED OUT locked out.  THEN I thought, well maybe I can just take apart the doorknob except I took it apart and since I didn’t know what I was doing now I had a deconstructed knob but a still locked door that I couldn’t figure out how to unlock. So I did what anybody who is not good with thingabobs would do. I went to my neighbor’s house and asked them to help me. And because he and his wife love me, he came over to tell me that I effed up the doorknob. INSTEAD he helped me get Spank through a window. Who in turn, unlocked the door from the inside and let me in. (Yes. I got a new doorknob. SO FAR SO GOOD)

And if you were wondering if this was a metaphor for you getting in where you fit in so that you can just open the damn door for somebody else/ DID I JUST GET TO THE BHFOTD? The answer is yes! Because today’s fact is a gimme. Because I’m lazy and even though EVERY DAMN YEAR I say, “Last year was SO HECTIC. I should definitely, absolutely plan these” I. DO. NOT. But I know y’all come for the bullsh!t, and stay for the fact, so let’s get into Robert Hayden.

*cracks knuckles*

Robert Hayden was a Black American poet, essayist and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978. Whew that title is QUITE a mouthful. [That’s what she said? No?]  He was the first African American to climb through a window to hold the office. Who made it easier for Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950, to become the  Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress for the 1985-86 term. Anyway. Ms. Brooks, cleared the way for Rita Dove, SECOND African American to win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, first AND youngest African American to have been appointed to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 from the previous “consultant in poetry” position (1937–86). And Rita Dove (I just love her name!) just went on and opened the door for Amanda Gorman to walk through.

In 2017 Amanda Gorman, poet and activist, was the FIRST PERSON to be named  National Youth Poet Laureate. The National Youth Poet Laureate is a title held in the United States by a young person who demonstrates skill in the arts, particularly poetry and/or spoken word, is a strong leader, is committed to social justice, and is active in civic discourse and advocacy. It is a title awarded annually to one winner among five finalists, most of whom have been chosen as the Poet Laureate for their city or region. Amanda was named Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014.

She was also the first youth poet (of…any color, if we’re keeping track. AND WE ARE) to open the literary season for the Library of Congress! AND the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration* in united states history. She will also be making MORE history the first poet to perform at the super bowl. I guess the NFL LIKES activists now? Who would have thought that after years of talking wild sh!t about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem [No. I am not sorry] in protest against racial injustice and police brutality and kicking him out the NFL and then having to SETTLE a lawsuit for an undisclosed (and probably ungodly) amount of money, while america was america-ing  and the police proving time and time again that they ARE in fact, violent and racist up to and including participating in an insurrection, the NFL would invite a poet and activist to speak? CERTAINLY NOT ME.

*hey! Did y’all know Maya Angelou DID NOT win a Pulitzer Prize, and was never a Poet Laureate? I mean, I *KNEW*, but I didn’t *KNOW* if that makes sense? But it do not matter ‘cause you know what she DID do? She was the first black poet to speak at a presidential inauguration. I didn’t add her up top ‘cause she was neither a pulitzer prize winner OR a poet laureate but ALSO IT DO NOT MATTER ‘cause mama Maya still blazed one hell of a trail that put Amanda Gorman on the write (get it? See what I did there?!) path.

Hello! It’s February and you know what dat mean! It means that I am going to be pulling black history facts out of a grab bag and then writing things. Hope y’all are ready, ‘cause I never am!

(also hi hello strangers and friends new to Black History Facts of the Day. I’m Briya, your “host”. I get to write about whatever I want and if you somehow managed to get on this list, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU. Enjoy! Or don’t! I’m doin’ it anyway)

I know I know…it’s been a while. But also, it’s not February, so you get what you pay for. And this is free.

Today is Juneteenth! And normally I would do a post about it, but TBH I didn’t feel like it for various reasons (really hard to celebrating being “freed” when the cops are out here acting like this is in Pimp Your Ride except with cops being like, I’m finna put some police brutality at your protest about police brutality – with bonus war crimes!). Ahem. I’m not here to talk about that right now. Because these facts are about HISTORY. Says so right in the title. WHICH MEANS this is about the PAST and not the PRESENT.

So anyway, on this day, in 1971, a civil rights lawsuit and March triggered rioting that ended in the Mayor of Columbus Georgia declaring a state of emergency.

The Grinch Smiling GIF by The Good Films - Find & Share on GIPHY

(I am NOT SORRY)

PLOT TWIST: This all started ‘cause the Black policemen of the Columbus Georgia PD complained of segregation, discrimination during promotions and overall favoritism to white policemen. IMAGINE! The po-lice being racist. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT.

Anyway. This season of racial hostility started May 31 when 7 Black policemen ripped the american flag from their uniforms during a picket outside their headquarters and were all fired on the basis of “conduct unbecoming a police officer”.  They argued there was no justice and probably no peace in the CPD and they would not wear the flag until they received the equality, justice, and respect for which it stood (HAHAHAHAHA *cough*). Many conflicts ensued due to the racial tension caused by the policemen’s gesture (‘cause I guess white people BEEN on that ReSpEcT tHe fLaG BS).

THEN. On Saturday, June 19, 1971, Hosea Williams, regional VP of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helped organize a protest march in support of demands made in a class-action lawsuit against the city, and to protest the city’s failure to address grievances of the Afro-American Police League. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs sought to eliminate longstanding discriminatory practices in the department, and to reinstate officers who had protested against said practices. Although the protest march was peaceful, racial tensions were high in Columbus, and violence escalated dramatically after the demonstration. Rioting reached a height on June 21, 1971, when a white officer, L. A. Jacks, shot and killed a twenty-year old African American youth named Willie J. Osborne after an alleged armed robbery. Safety Director Sargis, said the Osborne youth and a companion were sighted by policemen on the watch for two blacks wanted for a $241 market hold up before midnight. He said the police had chased the two men at speeds reaching 100 mph before forcing their vehicle to a halt. If you were wondering if it the “getaway” car was a Hyundai (est. in 1968 but the first american model wasn’t until 1986), it wasn’t. Detectives who had joined the chase attempted to stop the men from escaping after they fled from the car, Mr. Sargis said, and warning shots were fired. One of the fleeing men stumbled, and when the man recovered his balance the policemen said they saw a “shiny object” in his hand.

Whew chile! The people were BIG MAD. There were riots, arson attacks, policemen and firemen being fired at by snipers, and rocks and bottles were being thrown into the wind shields of moving cars. The continuing protests prompted the Columbus City Council to invoke an emergency ordinance, and Columbus mayor J. R. Allen to declare a state of emergency.

As it turns out though, the disturbances of that week end had their origin in another shooting of a young Columbus Black. [Quelle surprise! It’s almost like the police had…a pattern]

The previous year, Columbus policemen wounded a 17‐year‐old boy after a high‐speed auto chase. The youth, one of four riding in a stolen car, was shot in the back as he ran from the car after it was stopped by the police. He was later charged with conspiracy to commit an armed robbery. The Afro‐American Police League, formed earlier that year by 39 of the police department’s 52 black officers, protested that shooting and contended that it was part of a general wave of police violence directed at the black community.

*Closes alllll the tabs I had open to dig up this story*

I certainly don’t want y’all to think that I’ve found some sympathy for the black police being discriminated against because deFund/Fuck The Police all day over here. I just thought it was INTERESTING that even a random black history fact from 49 years ago was about police violence in the black community, with a side of racism(and probably some police on police violence. do we talk about that?) in the police department. And then, here we are in the year 2020 with The National Assoc. of Black Law Enforcement Officers talmbout “The institution of policing has been inherently biased against POC (but also specifically black people who should not be lumped in with POC when they really mean BLACK – my emphasis, not theirs)”

Also, if’n I were prone to seeing connections, and I’m not – I’m just here to share some history with y’all, I’d wonder all things being equal WHY IS IT that white police officers seem to feel so… hostile towards OTHER officers  that are just like them, only… Black? As a side note: Did you know that slave patrols were america’s early form of policing? I know y’all know I ain’t making shit up, BUT AGAIN I AM SHOWING MY WORK [I also wanna point out for anybody too lazy to click that I found this on the National Law Enforcement Museum website]

OR.

If I were the type to compare things, which, I also I am not, I would compare the microcosm of the police department to the greater world where black people have been systemically disenfranchised since they were brought here up to and including being enslaved for TWO AND ONE HALF ADDITIONAL YEARS AFTER THEY’D BEEN EMANCIPATED (Happy Juneteenth, y’all! I didn’t think I’d manage to drop this somewhere in this fact, but look at me) and I squinted JUST RIGHT I feel like I could maybe see some similarities.

BUT. I am not here to connect, or compare, or even contrast (three is always the magic number, friends). EYE am just here to share black history facts with you. Hope you enjoyed today’s random NOT Juneteenth Fact. In a surprise move, I’m actually off today and sending this email from the past. Hope y’all do something extra black today. Like keep fighting to get free for real.

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

And that’s why y’all ain’t get sh*t last Thursday and Friday.
I went to Alabama. On vacation. On purpose.
I was in the COUNTRY country, y’all.
And I did stuff that is so unlike me that I have to tell you about it:
I got a fried catfish plate. With mac & cheese and green beans
(because while I enjoy being a stereotype when it comes to loving music and watermelon I hate greens)
Anyway. Not the surprising part. BUT. I GOT IT AT A GAS STATION.
Honestly, y’all. It was SO GOOD. But I would still never do that in Los Angeles, California.

You know something else I’d never do in LA? Go to a Mardi Gras parade! Because we don’t have them!
But I kinda did. Because I went to Lower Alabama (LA)/Mobile, Al and went to theirs!
I had the BEST TIME. Not so much drunken revelry (it was early), but lots of beads and moon pies.

And then I came back home and said to myself (per usual): “Self, WTF kinda BHFOTD are you gonna pull outta you’re a$$ when you spent your entire vacation eating at questionable eating establishments with the locals?”
SO THEN I looked up “What Mobile Alabama known for?”
TURNS OUT, Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival/Mardi Gras in the US!
It was started when Mobile was the capital of Louisiana, 15 years before New Orleans was founded.
The More You EFFING Know, right?! Because I truly did not know EITHER of these things!
There’s more. Of course. But since my fact is actually NOT about Mardi Gras, I’m gonna move on.

Anyway. My point was that I was completely surprised that Mobile was not most known for racism*!
Because ALABAMA. Ya dig? Like. I was totally nervous about driving the back roads after dark because
I WAS IN ALABAMA, which seems pretty ridiculous only my family is from the South and so maybe not as ridiculous as you’d think.
So Mardi Gras was a day trip. And on the way back to the car I saw this:

The Slave Market Marker

Inscription: After the abolition of international slave trading in 1808, dealers transported slaves from all over the South into Mobile. On this site, Africans were sold as chattel to southern planters through public auction. Between auctions, a three-story holding facility housed the slaves until they were displayed and sold. In an attempt to make this inhumane and abhorrent aspect of slavery less conspicuous, the City banned slave depots from the downtown area. A developing rail system eventually made Montgomery, Alabama, the principal slave market. However, planters who sold cotton in Mobile continued to buy and sell slaves in this City.

And that’s today’s BHFOTD kids.

** Also I was kinda right about racism: Laws in Mobile regulated activities based on race during Carnival season. In 1845, A Mobile city ordinance prohibited free blacks or slaves from holding balls at their place of residence. In 1866, laws restricted noise or any party where “immoral or disorderly persons” might gather. Give you one guess who was assumed to be immoral and/or disorderly?